Saric Slides, Morozevich Joined By Jakovenko as Poikovsky Leader
Rising star GM Ivan Saric of Croatia had been matching GM Alexander Morozevich blow for blow at the 15th Karpov Tournament in Poikovsky, Russia. Stumbles in rounds 6 and 7 for Saric allowed Jakovenko to take his place as co-leader, while Morozevich has been able to retain his lead.
The tournament is a 10-player round robin and has two rounds remaining. Curiously six of the 10 players have won the event before, but 36-year-old Morozevich is not one of them.
Saric started out 3.5/4, thanks to endgame play like this in round 4. His knights proved better than defending champion GM Pavel Eljanov's knights, and eventually, better than his rooks too.
In the same round, Morozevich proved that he, too, could knight hop with the best of them. Like Saric's game, the knight proved at least as powerful as the rook.
The two leaders met the following round. Saric had the better end of the drawn rook-and-pawn ending, but his three versus one majority wasn't useful as the pawns could never help each other.
The split point allowed Jakovenko to get to within a half-point of Saric and Morozevich.
He moved to +2 with this quick win over the struggling GM Emil Sutovsky. The Israeli's knight on a5 could never find a path back to significance, and was lost in due time.
Morozevich and Jakovenko drew in round 6, opening the door for Saric to use his White to take sole possesion of the lead. GM Viktor Bologan, the winningest player in Poikovsky history, uncorked the Accelerated Dragon.
He sacrficed a piece and eventually picked up all of Saric's kingside pawns. The resulting two minors versus rook ending was particularly deflating to play for White - his knight was about as effective as Sutovsky's.
Today Saric fell a full point behind and Jakovenko got all square with Morozevich, all in the same game. Already worse, Saric's king was caught in a mating net at the end.
Meanwhile Bologan won his second game in a row to get back to 50 percent. He has only drawn one game in seven rounds. Also on 3.5/7 is GM Alexei Shirov, who got to his score in a very un-Shirov-like way - seven draws. GM Etienne Bacrot (3.5/7) also has yet to play a decisive game, while European Champion GM Alexander Motylev is also on an even score.
Karpov Tournament (Poikovsky) 2014 | Round 7 Standings